Society

Man Stung By Scorpion On United Flight

| by David Bonner

The PR troubles continue for United Airlines.

It turns out that a United passenger was stung by a scorpion on the same day that passenger on a different flight made worldwide headlines after being dragged violently off a United flight in Chicago, reports CNN.

Canadian Richard Bell was flying home to Calgary from Houston when a scorpion fell from an overhead bin and landed on his head.

"My husband felt something in his hair," explained his wife, Linda Bell, to CNN. "He grabbed it out of his hair and it fell onto his dinner table. As he was grabbing it by the tail, it stung him."

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As Richard Bell himself told CBC News, "While I was eating, something fell in my hair from the overhead above me. I picked it up, and it was a scorpion. And I was holding it out by the tail, so it couldn't really sting me then."

A fellow passenger told him it was likely a dangerous species.

"So I dropped it on my plate and then I went to pick it up again, and that's when it stung me. It got my nail, mostly," said Richard Bell.

After getting stung, he tossed the scorpion onto the floor, where a flight attendant covered it with a cup. "Then we got out of our seats and stepped on it. And then the flight attendants threw it in the restroom," he said.

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According to his wife, another passenger gave her husband an antihistamine pill in case he had an allergic reaction to the sting. He was also reportedly given the opioid painkiller Demerol by a nurse who was on the flight.

In a statement issued by United, the airline said: "Our flight attendants helped a customer who was stung by what appeared to be a scorpion on a flight last week. Our crew immediately consulted with a MedLink physician on the ground who provided guidance throughout the incident and assured our crew that it was not a life-threatening matter."

United also noted that medical personnel met the aircraft when it arrived in Calgary. Richard Bell confirmed to CBC News that "when we landed, EMS was there."

Border services agents were also there to inspect the suspected scorpion, but it had already been flushed down the toilet.

Richard Bell says he has requested that United offer some compensation for his ordeal, such as travel credit. Although he has yet to get a response, he says that's probably because he had switched seats with another man so he could sit next to his wife. "I suspect they haven't reached out to me because they reached out to him, and he probably doesn't know what the heck they are talking about because he slept through the whole thing," he said.

Richard Bell says has no plans to sue the airline, and is taking it in stride rather casually, posing the rhetorical question: "It's just one of those things that happens, right?"

How the scorpion got on the plane is a mystery, but Bell's theory is that it was hiding in a guitar belonging to some travelers who had just returned from Guatemala or Honduras. The flight from Houston had originated in Costa Rica, according to FlightAware.

Sources: CNN, CBC News / Photo credit: Richard Bell via CBC News

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